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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Study: The Miracles: A Doctor says "Yes"
by Richard H. Casdorph.(Logos International, 1976)



Richard H. Casdroph collected medical evidence, x-rays, angiograms, and other data from 10 cases associated with the Kathryn Kulhman ministry. Now it will of course strike skeptics as laughable to document the miracles of a faith healer. Ordinarily I myself tend to be highly skeptical of any televangelists. I am still skeptical of Kulhman because of her highly theatrical manner. But I always had the impression that there was actual documentation of her miracles and I guess that impression was created by the Casdorph book.

The Casdroph book goes into great detail on every case. Since these were not the actual patients of Casdroph himself, there are three tiers of medical data and opinion; Casdroph himself and his evaluation of the data, several doctors with whom he consulted on every case (and they vary from case to case), and the original doctors of the patients themselves. The patients gave their permission and were happy to provide the medical data on their healing since they were all people who had written to the Kulhman ministry with words of their healings. Not all of them were healed immediately in the meeting. Some were healed later when they got home.Naturally, no one had a x-ray machine standing by at the faith meeting to crank out results like a Xerox copy, so all of them took some period of time to see the results. Not all of them were totally healed immediately. But all the cases were either terminal or incurable and all of them, within a year, returned to full health and pain free existences.

Dr. Richard Steiner, of the American Board of Pathology, head of department of Pathology Long Beach Community Hospital reviewed several of the slides. William Olson, American Board of Internal Medicine and head of Isotope Department at Long Beach Community Hospital, and several radiologists from that Hospital also consulted on the rest of the cases.


1) Reticulum cell Sarcoma, right pelvic bone.
2) Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis with Severe Disability
3) Malignant Brain Tumor (Glioma) of the left temporal lobe
4) Multiple Sclerosis
5) Arteriosclerosis Heart Disease
6) Carcinoma of the Kidney (Hyperthyroidism)
7) Mixed Rheumatoid Arthritis with Osteoarthritis
8) Probable Brain Tumor vs Infarction of the Brain
9) Massive GI Hemorrhage with GI shock (instantly healed)
10) Osteoporosis of the Entire Spine

All of these people were totally healed of incurable or terminal states. The one commonality they all have is that they were at some point prayed for by the same person, Kulhman. Let's look at a few examples:

1) Lisa Larios: Cell Sarcoma of the right pelvic bone.

Larios didn't know she had cancer. She had developed a great deal of pain in her pelvis and was confined to a wheelchair, but the doctors had not found the evidence of the tumor at the time her mother took her to hear Kulhman. Yet, when Miss Kulhman said "someone over here is being healed of cancer, please stand up" she stood up without knowing why. She had already started feeling a strange heat in that area and had ceased to feel pain. She went up onto the stage and walked around without pain. She was than "slain in the spirit" which is that odd thing when the healer places his/her hand on the forehead and the person falls over in a faint. It took some time to receive the next set of x-rays because she only learned after the meeting some days later that she had cancer. Than the next set of x-rays showed vast and dramatic improvement. It would still be some time, almost a year, before her pelvis was completely resorted. But she did return to full health. The Catholics wouldn't accept this miracle because it could be confused with a normal remission. The power of suggestion can be ruled out because the heat started before she was called to the stage and because she didn't even know she had cancer, but responded to a call for healing of cancer. The first dramatic improvement which was immediate within a few days, and walking on the stage is not characteristic of remission. Casdroph has the medical evidence from several hospitals to which she had been taken.

3) Mrs. Marie Rosenberger: Malignant Brain Tumor.

"Three things make this case an exceptionally excellent example of divine healing: 1) medical evidence of the case includes biopsy proof of the malignant nature of the tumor. The slides were obtained from Hollywood Community Hospital and reviewed by the head pathologist at Long Beach community Hospital who confirmed the diagnosis of malignant astrocytoma or glioma class II.  2) When the healing occurred Marie Rosenberger was down to 101 pounds and was expected to die."

The healing began to manifest immediately and by the next morning was evident. She received no further drugs or medication from that point on. 3) The third thing that makes the case good is the long term nature of the healing. Her diagnosis was in 1970 and by the time Casdroph wrote the book in 1976 she was still healthy and happy with no sign of the disease since the healing (which was in 1971 one year after the diagnosis).

8) Anne Soults: Probable brain tumor vs. Infarction of the brain.

"This lady's brain abnormality was well documented by the standard diagnostic techniques and she was seen by many specialists. Electroencephalographic study was performed in each of her hospitalizations. The repeat study dated January 6th reported 'abnormal EEG suggesting left temporary pathology, there is no significant change since 12/27/74.'...the clinical impression was that of brain tumor and her symptoms suddenly and completely disappeared following a visit to the Shrine service."
When she went to the service an unknown christian placed his hands on her shoulders and prayed for her. The symptoms immediately disappeared and subsequent tests found that the abnormality had disappeared. This is not normal remission. Remission does not mean that the symptoms immediately vanish.

9) Paul Wittney Trousdale: Massive GI Hemorrhage.

Trousdale was a prominent civic leader and builder in California in the early 1970s. On December 12, 1973 he was admitted to St. John's Hospital in Sana Monica with massive hemorrhaging which required many transfusions.His wife called Reverend John Hinkle to his bedside, they prayed and he was instantly healed. All the medical values returned to normal and he went on to live a normal and productive life, taking part in sports. Subsequent examinations revealed no abnormalities.

10) Delores Winder: Osteoporosis of the Complete Spine.

"Mrs. Delores Winder presents us with an unusual case of severe, chronic, disabling pain secondary to Osteoporosis, which her physicians tried to relieve by five different spine operations. The patients symptoms had begun early in 1957. By 1962 she had worn a full body cast or brace of some sort...although at the time of her healing she was in a light weight full body plastic shell. Although she did not believe in instant miraculous healing she attended a lecture by Miss Kulhman in Dallas on August 30. 1975. She was miraculously healed beginning with a sensation of heat in both of her lower extremities.She has been resorted to full health, wears no brace or support, takes no medication and has completely normal sensations in the lower extremities. This is unusual because the spinathalamic in the spinal cord had been interrupted on both sides, and in such cases the resulting numbness is usually permanent."

Time Magazine Article

Time Magazine did an article on Miracles, and Nancy Biggs documented several examples which are backed by medical evidence. Some where anecdotal accounts, but at least she interviewed the principles. While she doesn't document the crucial medical evidence such as doctors' names, nor does she interview the doctors, the fact of medical diagnosis is at least present.

TIME Domestic April 10, 1995 Volume 145, No. 15

Nancy Gibbs

Author Dan Wakefield, a lapsed Presbyterian turned Unitarian, Expect a Miracle (to be published by Harper San Francisco next month). Wakefield finds that many miracle claimants are very respectable and conservative, those who would not be taken for "crackpots" or religious zealots.

Biggs:
"He [Wakefield]recalls a woman in Atlanta whose teenage daughter was hit by a car while Rollerblading. Doctors told the mother there was no hope; the best prognosis they could offer was that her daughter would be able to feed herself someday. "The family were Episcopalians and engaged very seriously in prayer, as did their church and the Sunday school," he says. "Two weeks later the girl woke up, and she is now back in school. These are not kooks. They only spoke to me because their minister asked them to. The stories I have are not all religious, and they are from all different religions. It is very vast, and serious. People like to dismiss it as the fringe, but there is a real, mainstream thing."

Biggs Interviews Five Church goers in California, each of a different stripe of theology and of faith, but all have encountered miracles in their lives:

"But as they get to talking, they discover that they all have one thing in common: every one of them believes they have experienced a miracle at some time in their lives and were forever changed by it. Roulston was electrocuted on July 29, 1985. "I took 600 amps of 575 volts - it takes 0.15 amps to kill you," he recalls. "I spent a long time in a burn unit. But I survived, the way sometimes people survive being hit by lightning. So now I understand about people who would like a miracle in their life to 'show me that God exists.'"

John Simpson went in for surgery to remove a kidney stone, only to have doctors find that it had disappeared: he credits a prayer wheel of more than 3,000 people that his wife, a Charismatic, organized. Leslie Smith recalls hurtling down a steep hill on her bike when she was seven years old. She began to slip off the seat - and felt hands lift her back up onto the bike. Dorothy Pederson, the most skeptical in the room, believes a miracle saved her husband's life after a brutal mugging in a hotel room seven years ago. John Lashley has had six strokes and two heart attacks. Twice, he says, he was pronounced dead. "Now, this body of mine has been through an awful lot," he says, "but my faith has been up to the task in every phase because my belief works. The miracle is in what it delivers."

Throughout the article she strings us along with the true story of "Elizabeth" an infant with a brain tumor. The story illustrates the power and the difficulty in documenting miracles.

"For five days, says Lennie Jernigan, an attorney, "we prayed for our daughter with a passion uncommon to both of us. And we waited for the diagnosis." The parents agreed to exploratory surgery, which carried a 1-in-5 chance of leaving Elizabeth permanently brain damaged. Surgeons removed part of the tumor from the nerve that controls the movement of the right eye. Trying to get at the rest of it was too dangerous. But when they were finished and the pathology reports came back, the news could not possibly have been worse. Their baby was suffering from an extremely rare malignant meningioma which has killed everyone who ever had it. Her prognosis: continued growth of the aggressive tumor, grievous paralysis and certain death."

[Fluid began to build up in the child's brain and she had to have an immediate operation.]

"The night before the scheduled shunt surgery, a doctor arrived in Elizabeth's hospital room and removed so much thick, infected fluid from her brain that he asked to postpone the operation for a few days. But 12 hours later, when he returned to do another tap, he could barely find any fluid, and it was totally clear. The doctor was baffled. Elizabeth was back home two days later. "We now know it was one of those lesser miracles that presage a greater miracle," her grandfather says."
"A month after the first operation, the same surgeons made a last-ditch effort to remove the rest of the tumor. But when they went into Elizabeth's brain, they couldn't find the lesion. As planned, they removed a section of the nerve that the cancer had invaded, knowing that it would leave her blind in her right eye but agreeing that it represented her best hope of surviving. When the tissue was examined, the pathologist could not find any cancer. Regular cat scans since then have revealed no evidence of a tumor. The medical community calls what happened "spontaneous resolution." The family call it a miracle. Even a resurrection."

The case illustrates the problem; thousands of cases happening to ordinary people all the time. The child is on the verge of death, it has in incurable condition, it doesn't die. Medical science recognizes the amazing nature of the case but can't call it a "miracle." So, was it a miracle or not? Borderline cases like this happen all the time, the person affected personally by the situation, the one whose loved one is spared and whose prayer is answered certainly has reason to place faith in God for answering prayer, but the skeptic always has "wiggle room" to claim "naturalistic healing process not clearly understood, amazing things just happen." So which is it? We can't prove it either way, but there is clearly room for belief.

Addendum: For more on evidence for miracles, see Medical Historians Agree Lourdes Cures are Unexplainable.

17 comments:

CallMeIrresponsible said...

All this does is make "miraculous" equal to "rare." I once hit an inside straight, thanks to Jesus.

An individual is diagnosed with terminal illness. Goes to faith healer in desperation. Goes back to doctor later and finds that the illness is gone.

Question: is it more likely that a person was miraculously cured than that they were misdiagnosed?

Which is why we skeptics so often ask "why no faith healings of amputees or people with severe facial disfigurements"?

Those are rather difficult to misdiagnose. And, not coincidently I think, also things that you never seem to find faith healers "curing".

I'd want to know far more detail than has been so far provided to be able to comment much on any of the specific cases.

David,

Is a biopsy not enough as in the case of Mrs. Rosenberger? Amputees is a red herring, since you have to comment on the actual cases.

Haggard, labs are capable of making errors. They can misdiagnose. They can mislabel specimens.

So the question remains:

What is more probable? That the lab made an error or that a person was magically healed.

Which do you think occur more frequently? Human error or miracles.

That's why the subject of amputees and facial disfigurement is far from a red herring.

The rare few cases where an extraordinary miraculous healing is claimed never seem to be things that are obvious to any observer and impossible to misdiagnose (you'd have to be a pretty incompetent doctor to misdiagnose a missing arm). Instead we get lots of cancers that went away and things where its possible that they were misdiagnosed in the first place or where the doctors were simply in error about how severe the condition was.

As to commenting on the actual cases, as I said before, we have far too little detail provided.

If Hinman wants to pick his favorite and then provide some real detail about it then we can discuss it. On the short summaries he's provided so far though there's really not much that can be said other than what I've already done---point out general problems that claims of miraculous healing need to surmount for us to be reasonably convinced they really occur.

CallMeIrresponsible said...

1. No miracle healings occur for conditions that would be *absolutely impossible* to heal without divine intervention (amputation, etc.).

2. Miracle healings are only claimed for conditions that human error or statistics could explain.

3. Therefore, miracles are a superfluous explanation.

All this does is make "miraculous" equal to "rare." I once hit an inside straight, thanks to Jesus.

that's downright idiot. once hu? big deal. that's not even analogous.

An individual is diagnosed with terminal illness. Goes to faith healer in desperation. Goes back to doctor later and finds that the illness is gone.

Question: is it more likely that a person was miraculously cured than that they were misdiagnosed?


of course there are degrees in the believability or in the reasons for thinking it a "miracle." Just because all event don't have the level of probability is not reason to doubt those that do.Which is why we skeptics so often ask "why no faith healings of amputees or people with severe facial disfigurements"?


I've answered that a dozen times when are you going to start listening?Those are rather difficult to misdiagnose. And, not coincidently I think, also things that you never seem to find faith healers "curing".


you have no reason to think any of these were misdiagnosed. that's just a pathetic excuse because you can't stand the fact that your childish rebellion has been disproved.

(1) the original doctor

(2) Casdroph himself

(3) all the doctors and x-ray teches who worked as Casdroph's hospital.

there level of diagnoses by a team of medical experts. you have not to suspect any problem.
I'd want to know far more detail than has been so far provided to be able to comment much on any of the specific cases.

get the book. Really blow the hell out of your world view doesn't it?

Haggard, labs are capable of making errors. They can misdiagnose. They can mislabel specimens.

as I said,you have no reason to suspect any problems in the cases I gave. They three independent (well two independent levels) of diagnosis.So the question remains:

What is more probable? That the lab made an error or that a person was magically healed.


In all 10 cases? Or in all the 4000 remarkable cases at Lourdes? Why do we draw the line and say "this is a real question, as opposed to an excuse because Ellis can't face truth?Which do you think occur more frequently? Human error or miracles.

what reason do you have? apparently your only reason is that you can't live with the results. you can't accept the truth when it's proved before you so you clutch at straws.

here is exactly what you have asked for but it's not enough, it never will be will it?
That's why the subject of amputees and facial disfigurement is far from a red herring.

No it's a silly read herring. Its' not totally unnecessary to even bring it up. Besides there are cases which are not well documented, not as well documented as Casdroph or Lourdes but they do exist.The rare few cases where an extraordinary miraculous healing is claimed never seem to be things that are obvious to any observer and impossible to misdiagnose (you'd have to be a pretty incompetent doctor to misdiagnose a missing arm).


As I said before, this is because you are not a doctor. Some of the cases Casdroph talkes about aer obvious to me. Others are obvious if you look the medical evidence.

The guy with the net brace then he didn't need it, why is that not obvious?

O but that's not enough we need the stars spelling Jesus name in the haves nothing short of that will be definitive proof.
Instead we get lots of cancers that went away and things where its possible that they were misdiagnosed in the first place or where the doctors were simply in error about how severe the condition was.


did you actually read the 10 that I brought up? The problem is you are want parting the red sea, you want God to force you to believe. you want to be freed of having make a decision.

you want to cheat. you want God to suspend the rules for you so you wont have to do anything hard.
As to commenting on the actual cases, as I said before, we have far too little detail provided.

that's a good excuse. The book includes the x-rays. you are not a doctor so would the medical details matter to you? I mean would you understand them> Are you an x-ray technician?If Hinman wants to pick his favorite and then provide some real detail about it then we can discuss it.


what a stupid excercise that would be. Its' so obvious any evdience prestned to you just windup in the mental dumper as this this stuff does becuase you don't want evenidence. you can stand that you world view is blowen apart, you will accept no evidence of any kind. No matter how much I give or what quality you will always find a way to make another excuse or demand a higher leel of proof.

limbs gowing back? what does that prove? flat worms do that, but the stars spelling out Jesus name?

then when I get God to do that what are you going to say "yes, but do they look this way from the other end of the galaxy?"
On the short summaries he's provided so far though there's really not much that can be said other than what I've already done---point out general problems that claims of miraculous healing need to surmount for us to be reasonably convinced they really occur.


what the (explicative deleted) do you expect? Do you think I hav access to whole medical libraries. shall I spend the rst of my life trying to document this for you?

of course you can't read my miracles page and see how good the evidence for Lourdes is t hat would waste too much time.

and after all it's not a limb growing back (which didn't even happen happen in the bible) and even if it did the stars don't spell Jesus.

1. No miracle healings occur for conditions that would be *absolutely impossible* to heal without divine intervention (amputation, etc.).


That's a calculated misconception. The healing of incurable disease, which has happened a bunch at Lourdes is an impossibility. The growing back of a severed limb is not the only form of "impossible" miracle. But it's the only one you don't reject becuase its such an easy way to dismiss the evidence. Then when that is provided (two saints did it in the middle ages) then of course we can move on to demanding the parting of the Atlantic ocean and stuff.2. Miracle healings are only claimed for conditions that human error or statistics could explain.


they why don't they explain them? I think you mean "can't explain?" if you mean "can" then that is empirically disproved by the cases I listed.

ms people don't just lose all their symptoms overnight.

how about the lungs of Charles Ann? They grew back over nght. they became like new again form a totally ravaged state wtih in a six hour period. That miracle Got St Teresa of L. put in as a saint. why is that not as good? people don't grow lungs back.

THE EVIDENCE DOES NOT POINT IN A UNIFORM DIRECTION

See this article:

The Body Can Beat Terminal Cancer — Sometimes

They should be dead. But a tiny number of people conquer lethal diseases. by Jeanne Lenzer

http://discovermagazine.com/2007/sep/the-body-can-stave-off-terminal-cancer-sometimes/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=

Have you read books by Norman Cousins? He survived three fatal illnesses in his life, seemingly miraculously. He wrote about them in his books. But religion was not involved.

Have you heard of Jason Winters? He believed a “tea” cured his inoperable fatal throat tumor (he was given three months to live). But no one knows for sure how the tea works, though his website continues to receive testimonies of miraculous healing from other users of his tea:
http://www.sirjasonwinters.com/testimonials.htm

What I am saying is that the history of health cures, placebo research, stress reduction and visualization, includes tales of miraculous healings.

There may be a connection between mental states, including religious mental states among others, and miraculous cures.

ON THE DEBUNKING OF MIRACLES

Protestants have spent a fair share of time and effort debunking centuries of Catholic miracle stories, including tales related to healing relics, visions, etc. So Protestants were debunking Catholic miracle stories even before deism and later atheism arose.

On the miracles reported to have taken place in the early [Catholic] church Rev. Dr. Conyers Middleton (18th century British Anglican clergyman, Cambridge graduate and author) says, regarding the early church fathers who reported them:

“I have shown by many indisputable facts, that the ancient fathers, by whose authority that delusion was originally imposed (that miracles existed in the early church), and has ever since been supported, were extremely credulous and superstitious; possessed with strong prejudices and enthusiastic zeal, in favour, not only of Christianity in general, but of every particular doctrine, which a wild imagination could ingraft upon it; and scrupling no art or means, by which they might propagate the same principles. In short; they they were of a character, from which nothing could be expected, that was candid and impartial; nothing but what a weak or crafty understanding could supply, towards confirming those prejudices, with which they happened to be possessed; especially where religion was the subject, which above all other motives, strengthens every bias, and inflames every passion of the human mind.” [Conyers Middleton (1749), A FREE INQUIRY INTO THE MIRACULOUS POWERS WHICH ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE SUBSISTED IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH FROM THE EARLIEST AGES THROUGH SEVERAL SUCCESSIVE CENTURIES. Reprinted (1967). New York: Garland Publishing. Preface, pp. 21-22.]

Then in the 19th century one can read the Protestant theologian (and father of modern inerrancy), B. B. Warfield, to see how he debunked Catholic miracles and resurrection stories in his famous work, COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES. Which just goes to show, as Dr. Robert M. Price (an ex-fundamentalist Protestant), wrote, “The zeal and ingenuity of conservative evangelical scholars in dismantling the miracles of rival Christian groups (and exploding rival interpretations of Scripture used to support such miracles), is worthy of the most skeptical gospel critic.”

I was kid in college in Jefferson City, Missouri, a buddy of mine worked a summer in rural Macon, we took a trip to the town and on the way back my car broke down coasting to the side of the freeway Hwy 63, well north of I-70. We had next to no money, no knowledge of cars and were young black men in rural Missouri. I turned the key a half dozen times and got nothing. We never got out of the car. I turned to my buddy and said I know this sounds crazy but let's pray. We prayed, I have no idea what I said, turned the key and the car started and ran at least 50 miles with no issues. I drove to his apt dropped him off drove about a hundred yards before the car died and never ran again, as far as I know. That was a miracle to me and why I believe in prayer, and faith.

A friend of mine suffered a terrible accident when he was 15 (this was back in the 60s) and he was burned by gasoline to point where 80 percent of his skin was burnt. The doctors initially didn't think he would live. Once he survived, they said that he would be badly disfigured for his entire life, with scars all over his body. Over a period of several years, God miraculously healed him so that all of his scars disappeared. I recently created a short documentary on his story which he has also written a book about entitled Angel in the Fire. You can watch this short documentary for free at http://bit.ly/s4f1S5 and click on "Angel in the Fire". This has been a very moving piece for myself and others and we hope will touch the lives of many.

Re: cases of physical disfigurements being miraculously healed....you can see the picture of a baby born with a facial disfigurement and her picture as a child, after her miracle, on leestoneking.com

Original post from Anonymous from 10/30/2011:

A friend of mine suffered a terrible accident when he was 15 (this was back in the 60s) and he was burned by gasoline to point where 80 percent of his skin was burnt....

I watched the video and saw the site. Trust me, I'm a believer, and it's a truly miraculous story! ... if it's true. And I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but his story is awfully similar to: http://www.vuburncenter.com/about/stories/030303.html

I'd hate to think he's a fraud, but it's a bit too close for me. Does he have pictures available from before the burn, immediately or shortly after being burned, during recovery, and fully recovered? If at all possible, please back that story up!

http://vimeo.com/36873871

Story of a friend of mine, healed

There are many, any typos in this piece. For credibility's sake, you might consider revising.

"wouldn't except this miracle"
"confussed"
"Milignant brain tumor"

etc

never in the history of mankind has anyone documented proof of limbs that were amputated being put back again. funny about that.... If pray works not get everyone to pray for a single person with a missing leg and see if it reappears again on camera. Pretty simple to prove a miracle yet deep down all the believers know that only questionable uncontrolled miracles can happen.

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